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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tennis to face Bay Area schools this weekend

Men prepare for conference play

After losing to Oklahoma in the final four of the Blue Gray Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Ala., No. 32 Arizona men’s tennis heads to Berkeley to take on the No. 16 California Golden Bears in its first Pacific 10 Conference match of the season.

“”The guys did a great job competing at the Blue Gray,”” said head coach Tad Berkowitz. “”We feel we have confidence heading into our Pac-10 season.””

As one of the premier conferences in the country, all of the men’s Pac-10 teams boast top-75 rankings, according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).

The Wildcats (11-5) will have to have the same drive and momentum coming into this weekend’s contest facing a California (9-4) team poised to make a run for the conference title.

“”The Pac-10 is the toughest conference in the country for men’s tennis,”” Berkowitz said. “”But we have a tough team that can do some damage in our conference.””

The No. 55 Arizona doubles team of Borja Malo and Pat Metham will need to be as solid as ever against the Golden Bears’ No. 20 Pedro Zerbini and Jonathan Dahan, one of the most touted doubles teams in the conference.

The Golden Bears also feature three singles players in the ITA rankings. Zerbini and Dahan are ranked No. 14 and No. 120 respectively, and Christoffer Konigsfeldt at No. 58.

“”Every team is really strong this year, and every team has improved since last year and so have we,”” Berkowitz said. “”We will be ready to go.””

“”This is the most important time of the year for us and we look forward to the challenge.””

Women look to make it three straight at home

After finding its feet in conference play against the Oregon Ducks, the No. 55 Arizona women’s tennis team looks to remain perfect at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center this weekend against the No. 10 California Golden Bears and the No. 12 Stanford Cardinal.

“”Our win against Oregon was definitely a confidence-booster,”” said head coach Vicky Maes. “”We had come back from a rough weekend in Washington, and the girls really needed to battle back mentally. It took a great team effort, but everyone stepped up and we dominated.””

Looking for their second conference win, the Arizona women (10-4, 1-2 Pac-10 Conference) must play consistently if they want to beat the very competitive Golden Bears (12-3), who are beginning conference play this weekend.

Last weekend against the Memphis Tigers, the Wildcats were able to assert their dominance winning five of six singles matches and two out of three doubles matches.

With the duo of No. 93 Natasha Marks and Sarah Landsman playing, the Wildcats should be able to bring their confidence from their two previous victories into Friday’s contest.

“”Natasha and Sarah, playing at the top, have tough line-ups,”” Maes said. “”But they always have opportunities to win in their positions, and they set the trend for everyone. Certainly everyone on the team is capable of winning though, so it will be exciting to see who will step up.””

The Golden Bears are coming into Tucson fresh off a sweep-victory at No. 51 Pepperdine, and with the tenacity of No. 2 ranked singles player Jana Juricova, they will be prepared to strip the Wildcats home court advantage.

“”Sometimes, when you compete against a top team, you get the idea that you have to play better, and that’s where people start making too many early mistakes.”” Maes said. “”I think our girls can do well if we stick to executing our strengths and avoid panicking about our weaknesses.

“”These ‘Cats are capable. They just have to believe harder sometimes.””

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